Can anxiety cause a high heart beating rate?

Posted on Tue, 9 Jun 2015 in Mental Health
Question: Hi I suffer from health anxiety regarding my heart. I have been doing cbt therapy for 2 months now. It has been going well. I had all cardiac testing done by 2 cardiologist. The most recent was 2 months ago. My heart was structurally normal and healthy. I also passed my stress test. My Holter monitor showed that I have periodic pacs and very few pvcs. My cardiologists both insist they are anxiety related and there is nothing abnormal with my heart. Last night I had an episode where I did not eat very well I got up off the couch and carried my daughter up the stairs. My heart was beating quite rapidly. I kept checking my pulse and became anxious where my heart rate went up to 185 bpm. Can anxiety cause the heart rate to go up this high or higher? My heart tests were normal
Answered by Dr. Chintan Solanki 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Yes anxiety can cause such high heart beating rate

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for writing to us.

I read your query and understood your concern. At age of 32 very rare chances are there of any significant cardiac problem.Your cardiac check up and opinion of two cardiologists clearly suggest that you have only anxiety problem.

Anxiety leads to sympathetic hyperactivity.This high sympathetic tone leads to fast beating of heart, rate of which varies according to person's anxiety attack.It may go up to 200 per minute in some cases but for few seconds to minutes only not persistent.This is also responsible for pacs and pvcs.

During anxiety when someone checks his own pulse it causes more anxiety and more heart rate.
Your heart tests were normal in recent past so no need to worry.

In my view you should consult psychiatrist also (if not consulted) to get opinion about diagnosis of anxiety disorder and anti anxiety medicines are needed or not. CBT is very effective in anxiety disorders. You should carry on the same.

Hope I have answered your query, I will be happy to help further.


Dr.Chintan Solanki.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Chintan Solanki 15 minutes later
Hi doctor thank you for explaining this to me. The whole episode lasted approximately 5-7 minutes is this common?
Answered by Dr. Chintan Solanki 9 hours later
Brief Answer:
yes it is absolutely common

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for follow up.

Typical anxiety episode lasts for 5-20 minuets. If your episode is lasted for 5-7 minutes it is anxiety episode for sure. If it is due to some other physical cause, duration will be more.

Just relax and carry on CBT.You can come out of this problem.

Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Chintan Solanki


Practicing since :2007

Answered : 2406 Questions


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